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RAMSEY'S DECISION A "SHOCKER," SAYS UGA CRIMINAL LAW EXPERT

Abstract

Wednesday, April 26, 2000

WRITER: Kathy R. Pharr, (706) 542-5172, pharr@arches.uga.edu

CONTACT: Ron Carlson, (706) 542-5186

RAMSEY'S DECISION A "SHOCKER," SAYS UGA CRIMINAL LAW EXPERT

ATHENS, Ga. -- John and Patsy Ramsey's refusal to submit to a lie detector test - a test they had agreed to take during a nationally televised interview - is a surprise and a shock, says UGA law professor Ron Carlson, a nationally recognized criminal law expert who has provided ongoing commentary of the high profile case.

"This is probably one of the most damaging developments against the parents in the case, as far as public opinion in this matter is concerned," said Carlson. "I for one have been a supporter of the Ramseys in one particular respect, and that is that I feel they've been so pilloried by the tabloids that it's been relatively unfair to them. This lie detector development helps sway public opinion against them - having said that they were willing to take a lie detector test and now, refusing to do so."

According to media reports, the Ramseys have refused to take the test because it would be administered by the FBI: they had agreed to take the test if administered by an independent source; since the FBI participated in the investigation of their daughter's death, they do not consider the FBI to be independent. Carlson says the development is a major backslide for the investigation.

"Things are back to square one, which isn't very good," said Carlson. "The speculation of a lot of commentators and experts is that the case will simply never be solved in a legal sense, and this is definitely a step backward. If the parents could've taken a test, passed it and have been cleared, that would then place the investigative focus out there with the intruder theory, and anything that helps narrow the range of suspects and the range of manners in which this crime could have been committed is helpful, so this is not a good development."

Carlson, a nationally recognized expert in evidence, trial practice and criminal procedure, has litigated many cases and has argued twice before the United States Supreme Court. He has written numerous books on trial techniques and provided extensive commentary for the national media in high-profile trials. He may be reached for further contact at (706) 542-5186 (O).

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